Thoughts from the Industry: Distribution, Parity, and Driving Direct Booking
By Gino Engels Co-Founder, OTA Insight | November 03, 2019
The hotel distribution landscape has seen a pronounced evolution in the last decade. The dominance of booking travel online has resulted in a shifting relationship between OTAs and hotels. Once seemingly existing in harmony, the rise in OTA market share, fuelled by traveller booking behaviour, caught hotels off guard as direct bookings took a hit. Further players in the distribution game, such as wholesalers and metasearch, have served to complicate matters and hotels have found themselves being undercut.
OTA Insight recently spoke to industry experts about managing distribution and how hotels should drive direct bookings. They also weighed in on the importance of managing parity.
Distribution in an Ever-Changing Landscape
The expansion of technology within the hospitality industry has seen the beneficial impact of a wealth of distribution channels for room inventory. Hotels are able to be much more targeted with distribution and adapt pricing and availability across different channels to more profitably yield their inventory. Hotels also have the option of relying on just a few partners with global scale to distribute inventory.
With so many new options to consider and the distribution landscape continuing to rapidly evolve, it can be daunting for hoteliers and revenue managers to build a confident strategy and allocate spend. Troy Lovatt, Vice President of Revenue Management at ONYX Hospitality Group, spoke of the competitive nature of the landscape with the rise OTAs and metasearch, paired with the changes in technology enabling wholesale agents to sell to both B2B and B2C clients.
Said Troy: "Everything is becoming blurred. You've got OTAs that are becoming more metasearch. Metasearch are becoming OTAs. Amazon is reaching into booking airlines and hotels. These different distribution channels are becoming one big conglomerate, which is going to be very difficult for hotels to understand where to send the best money."